Poll yr may see support of Rs 10,000 cr over GBS
Additional Provision To Be Allocated To Social Sector Programmes APART from the normal gross budgetary support (GBS), that is being finalised at Rs 2,40,000 crore, the government is likely to make a additional provision of Rs 10,000 crore in the Budget to fund social sector programmes in the course of the year. The move indicates that some popular announcements may be made in the course of the year in the light of the general election next year. “The provision of addition Rs 10,000 crore is part of a two-tier GBS, a system that made its beginning in the previous Budget. While Rs 7,000 crore was earmarked last year under additional GBS, this year the additional support is likely to be increased by over 42%,” a source said. The additional GBS is likely to be allocated to sectors such as agriculture, rural development, health, women and child development, water resources and urban infrastructure. While GBS for next year is likely to be increased by 17% to Rs 2,40,000 crore for 2008-09 from a level of Rs 2,05,100 crore in the previous fiscal, an additional Rs 10,000 crore would be provided as special grants to ministries and states. Taken together, the total GBS for next fiscal would be Rs 250,000 crore. The finance ministry and Planning Commission seem to have agreed on the GBS for next fiscal well in advance this year after the prime minister’s office intervened to bring a balance between economic goals and political ambitions of the government. The finance ministry was initially willing to give only Rs 2,28,725 crore as GBS in the coming fiscal against ministries’ demand of Rs 344,761 crore. According to the convention, ministries put their demands (of fund requirement in a fiscal) to the Planning Commission. The commission prunes it and sends the derived number to the finance ministry. The finance ministry, the mobiliser of the fund, suggests further cut according to available resource for the fiscal. After both the finance ministry and the Plan Panel narrow down their differences on the requisite number, the same is presented to the prime minister, who revises the figure and the final GBS figure is reached at. The GBS figure may be enhanced later in the year in revised estimates. “The GBS figure is not static. It may be revised even after a figure is announced in the Budget,” an official said. Depending upon the success and failure of a scheme, the government may also enhance or cut budget for an individual scheme during the fiscal.